GP's striking off patients if not seen for 5 years - Elderly Access

(22 Posts)
HandsoffGary Wed 02-Mar-16 12:29:10

I saw this in the news and immediately worried about it. I think this 5 year strike is unreasonable. Thoughts?

www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/02/patients-who-do-not-use-gp-for-five-years-may-be-barred-from-practice

People, especially elderly folk are won't see a GP if they feel well. My Gran (aged over 90) hasn't seen a GP in about 10 years as she feels "ok". She puts aches and pains down to her age.

if the 5 year strike off rule happens I am worried that she might get finally get very sick quickly and get turned away by the GP surgery. The only one she has ever visited as an adult. This could cause a lot of stress and fear to elderly!

longdiling Wed 02-Mar-16 12:34:04

Crazy. Our surgery seems to go out of their way to discourage us from coming in. Getting through on the phone takes at least an hour and then you have to wait for the gp to 'triage' you and decide if you need to be seen. Most times they say not to come in. If I end up being struck off for not being seen I'll be furious!!

OurBlanche Wed 02-Mar-16 12:40:47

But you won't as you will have accessed their services.

And it is being used as a strategy to update and correct their lists. The article says quite clearly that it is being done to find out who has moved, died.

they will be sent two letters asking them to respond. If they do not get in touch to say they still wish to be registered with their GP, they will be removed from the GP practice list.

Not quite what the OP suggests!

takemetomars Wed 02-Mar-16 12:41:00

This is not down to GPs. It is a recommendation from NHS England

Mondrian Wed 02-Mar-16 12:48:59

I was removed from the list after not seeing the doctor for 2 years (central London) even my NHS number doesn't show up on registry!

5Foot5 Wed 02-Mar-16 13:17:44

That's crazy! Surely with GPs being over-stretched as they are they should not be encouraging people to go for no reason at all other than to stay on the list. Or am I misunderstanding?

I probably have visited in last 5 years but only for routine things like cervical smears.

DH hasn't needed to see a doctor for years and years. Surely that is the sort of patient they should want and encourage!

OurBlanche Wed 02-Mar-16 13:26:34

You are misunderstanding, the OP and the guardian piece have misleading titles.

They will have no way of knowing if people who haven't been for 5+ years are healthy, dead or moved away and not re-registered.

So they are sending 2 letters asking people to confirm that hey still wish to be registered with them.

No response = being de registered, they will assume you are dead or have moved away and not re-registered.

All you have to do to stay registered is reply to one of the letters, by post, phone or visit.

Vinorosso74 Wed 02-Mar-16 13:29:55

I was struck off a number of years ago (living in central London). Apparently the local NHS authority should have sent a letter but I never received one. Thing was I'd actually been at the GPs about 6 months earlier! It got sorted out ok in the end.
I understand they need to keep lists up to date but there must be a better way of doing this. If someone urgently needs to see their GP but their records have disappeared because they didn't receive a letter us going to cause other problems ie. people will then go to Urgent Care or A&E causing pressures there.

5Foot5 Wed 02-Mar-16 13:32:58

OurBlanche Thanks. That makes a lot more sense

OurBlanche Wed 02-Mar-16 13:34:18

How, vino?

The only other way to be sure, with changing phone numbers, emails etc, would be for someone to visit every address and ask the inhabitant directly.

If you don't get a letter and find you have been de registered it is, in the absence of any other issue, easy enough to sign back in again.

Anyone with urgent health needs are unlikely to have been 5+ years without GP contact!

Vinorosso74 Wed 02-Mar-16 13:40:29

Someone can suddenly need to see a GP without having needed to for some time. As I say I was struck off after 6 months so there is potential for errors here.
I think if there was a more centralised system surely it would be easier to trace if people had moved/died etc. I don't know the exact answer but posting letters isn't the most reliable way.

Monstertrucker Wed 02-Mar-16 13:43:33

I've had the opposite problem - before we moved abroad I went to the GPs reception to deregister. They insisted I didn't need to as my records would transfer when I registered with a new GP even though I explicitly told them I wasn't going to reregister in the UK. So now I'm 6000 miles from my old GPs, probably still on their books with goodness knows what reminders being sent to my old address. It's very annoying but they insisted they were right!

OurBlanche Wed 02-Mar-16 13:47:17

Yes vino. And in this case a simple response to either of the 2 letters would avoid repercussions.

Again, what do you suggest they do instead? There is no central system, there is no better way than letters.

They aren't doing it to be pissy. They are trying to reconcile GPs lists. Make room for new, real, patients and, probably save some money, as GP lists will get smaller.

Yes, there will be errors, but nothing that won't come out in the wash!

Again, the thread title and the Guardian piece have overblown titles. They don't reflect what is really happening.

OurBlanche Wed 02-Mar-16 13:47:52

Oh, and you were not struck off, you were de=registered at one surgery.

Mondrian Wed 02-Mar-16 17:17:40

I didn't get a letter either, just struck-off or de-registered as you put it. This was on a Friday was therefore unable to see a doctor and as I was going away on Monday no chance to do anything about limping due to dodgy knee.

Problem is when you give them the right to de-register you then the process is out of your hands (we sent letter, no you didn't). WHy would you do that, how was I a burden to the system if I hadn't been to see them for years?

OurBlanche Wed 02-Mar-16 17:19:48

Because GPs lists are full and some people can't register because of that. So this one area is trying to see if they can free up some spaces.

Mondrian Wed 02-Mar-16 17:26:51

Surely GP list should be gauged by number of patients dealt with on an average daily basis & not idle names on register. That's how we gauge the performance of our company, ie what we deliver (sell) on a daily basis & not how many clients we have on our database.

LetsSplashMummy Wed 02-Mar-16 17:27:14

It makes sense to keep records updating, what a waste of time and money to be sending out letters about smear tests, prostate checks, flu jabs etc. to people who are dead or have moved and having to make provisions and orders for an inaccurate sample. I can't see how this affects the elderly in particular, surely they are being screened/ flu jabbed at quite a high rate.

Our university GP practice has to do something similar as it has a transient population and if it just kept people on their books when they had moved away (often abroad) it wouldn't have space for the next intake of students. They simply ask people a few months after they graduate to confirm their address, it isn't that sinister really.

Mondrian Wed 02-Mar-16 17:30:53

I have never received a single letter from my GP over the last 15 yrs .......

Witchend Wed 02-Mar-16 17:35:56

Makes sense actually. When we moved here 15 years ago we went to register at the estate's surgery. Were told it was full, but they agreed to take me as I was less than a month away of having dd1.
Turned out that although it was full, it was full of "ghost patients" I think they called them. People who in the 25year history of the estate had registered, moved away and never reregistered-nearly 1/3 of the list I believe.
So families and old people arriving on our estate had to register on a different one, the nearest of which is just under 5miles away and not on a bus route.
Now they have tightened up, they take anyone on the estate, but will remove you unless there's a good reason, if you leave. That's fairer.

MoonriseKingdom Wed 02-Mar-16 17:38:15

As others have stated the headline is misleading.

Many people 65+ will have been in contact with their practice in the past year even if they haven't had an appointment with a GP. Examples would include flu vaccine, blood pressure check, collecting repeat prescriptions. If they haven't then a phone call in response to letter will prevent deregistering. It is your responsibility to keep your practice updated on address/ telephone number changes.

In the event of genuinely needing to be seen urgently I think most practices would be accommodating - they would just reregister you at the same time. Practices often see people as temporary residents who become sick while away from home.

OurBlanche Wed 02-Mar-16 17:38:28

Well, that's a bit of a conundrum, isn't it? They have to supply a service to all those on their lists. They get paid per visit, sort of, and there is a cut off for list size.

How to reconcile all of that? I know, we'll ask people who haven't been in recently if they want to stay registered.

As for not having had a letter, great. Nor has DH. If he has been de registered we'll sort it out when we get there!

Then again, we live rurally, close to a good surgery smile

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